Corvallis Clinic Changes Policy On Medicare – Patients Concerned

The Corvallis Clinic sent a letter to patients last month informing them that it planned to become a “nonparticipating provider”in Medicare because “[i]n some cases, the reimbursement levels for an original Medicare patient may not even cover the operating cost of seeing that patient.” The letter reminded patients that Medicare Advantage plans were also available. 

Many patients found the Clinic’s letter confusing and wondered if they would still be able to receive care if they didn’t enroll in Medicare Advantage, which as a program which involves private for-profit groups is an added expense and often involves businesses which have been caught in questionable practices. 

Pat Mohr, a resident of CoHo in South Corvallis, said on NextDoor.Com, “I have a friend who tried to change from her current Nurse Practitioner ‘within’ The Clinic (even though she’s currently on Medicare) and they told her NO doctors in the clinic are accepting new to them patients until after this open enrollment period.” Mohr also observed that “Oregon has one of the lowest Medicare reimbursement rates for their doctors,” referring not to Medicare itself but to Medicare Advantage and other corporate supplemental plans. 

The letter’s wording seemed to imply that the Clinic will not be taking new Medicare patients at all, and that the change would be happening soon. According to Sarah Wai, Marketing Communications Coordinator for the Corvallis Clinic, neither of these things is true. 

“We are not saying that we will no longer be seeing original Medicare patients,” she told the Albany Democrat-Herald. She added that any changes to policy would not take place until after 2023. 

Despite the confusion and anxiety created, the Clinic says they have no plans to issue a second letter containing any clarifications. 

By John M. Burt 

Do you have a story for The Advocate? Email editor@corvallisadvocate.com